Horticulture labors, especially women, are generally unskilled and have a low household income that is limited to seasonal cycles. Hence they live in poverty.
On the other side, the life of a small sweet orange farmer is equally challenging. Sweet oranges cultivation involves high investments amid market vagaries. Changing climate and up-surging input and labor costs etc are adversely impacting the livelihoods of the peasant. While the market is being a gamble, a number of external and internal factors cause sweet orange trees shed fruits prematurely. Aberrations in rain/irrigation, wind, cyclone etc accelerate fruit dropping. About 4 out of 5 fruits are estimated to be dropped at different stages, leaving farmers in drudgery.
Also, after planting, farmers have to wait for four years before starting revenue generation. They pinch off the small fruits to allow healthy vegetative growth of the plant, which is labor intensive but generates no value to the farmer.
Thanks to nature, a bioflavonoid called “Hesperidin” is present in these aborted sweet oranges. This natural compound has an excellent positive effect on the human circulatory system and hence has pharmaceutical value.
Collection, processing, quality management, and supply of aborted small oranges can fetch additional income to BoP (Bottom of the pyramid) families. Sun drying for 12-16 days (30-35 0C) reduces the moisture content to 5-7%, which is the required standard.
We have set up village level extension and farmers training systems along with collection centers in two districts. Beneficiaries can collect and sell both fresh and dried fruits (differential pricing) as per the quality standards.
Yasasree Impex Private Limited, an offshoot of Grameena Vikas Kendram, is carrying out processing, quality management, and marketing activities. We have joined forces with a French pharmaceutical giant who is the world leader in this sector which fetches assured buying for unlimited quantities. Also, we are exclusive in South India.
Horticultural women labor, who live with less than 2 USD per day
Small and marginal sweet orange/lime farmers
Kadapa, Anantapur and Prakasham districts of Andhra Pradesh and Nalgonda district of Telangana, India
We are currently working with 3000 families in 200 villages
There are a number of initiatives that focus on improving the living standards of farmers in different ways. Improving on-farm efficiency, better market linkages, access to credit and quality inputs, farmer collectives etc are directed towards the matured fruits.
For the first time in the country, we are creating an opportunity to earn additional income from the dropped small oranges that otherwise go as waste. At the front end, we supply quality raw material to pharmaceutical companies with impact claims for market competitive advantage.